A quiet night in major league baseball because it’s the NFL draft. It also happens to be Vlad Guerrero Jr. Debut Eve!
The long-heralded son of the Hall of Famer makes his MLB debut on Friday with Mike Fiers on the mound. You won’t want to miss it. As for today’s light slate, we have eight games in total and five on the main slate. The early slate will just be two games (ARI-PIT, LAD-CHC) with ATL-CIN an island game a few hours later. Thursday’s biggest thrill will be the matchup between two of the league’s best pitchers, Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole. Get ready for it! For today’s breakdown, no differentiation between cash and GPP plays but I’ll note any cash-relevant plays below.
It’s a very straight-forward slate. Red Sox against Jordan Zimmermann and Mariners against a rookie (Taylor Hearn) making his MLB debut will be the chalk. Everything else is different – well, at least as far as five-game slates are concerned. Questions you’d need to ask – what’s wrong with Aaron Nola? Will facing the Marlins be his elixir? If not, perhaps some of these Marlins are sneaky. Rick Porcello takes on his old team, the Tigers. Looks like a gem on paper, but will it, in fact, be? Tigers offense stinks but anything can happen in a single game. Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole may take part in a pitching duel and they are two of the best, so using any HOU or CLE hitters is certainly contrarian. But Cole did get wrecked last outing and does give up occasional bombs. And which Trevor Cahill will show up? His home park is a good place for him to pitch and these Yanks are missing nearly 2/3 of their starting offense. No matter how you slice, just be careful loading up on too many cash games and don’t be afraid to take a stand in GPPs.
Chalky Stacks: RED SOX, MARINERS
Contrarian Stacks: TIGERS, MARLINS, RANGERS
My Favorite Stacks: RED SOX, MARINERS
Sneaky Game Stack: NONE
CASH – J.T. Realmuto (RH/PHI), GPP – Tom Murphy (RH/SEA)
VALUE – Sandy Leon (LH/BOS), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (RH/TEX)
Caleb Smith has been dynamite this year (2.35 ERA, 33.3% K) and Realmuto is basically hitting around .200 against lefty arms since last season, so perhaps you fade the perceived chalk? Perhaps Murphy against the rookie Hearn or one of the cheap guys among Leon (likely starting giving Vazquez a day off) or Rangers’ IKF are both cheap and could work to help get your big guys filled at other positions.
Mitch Moreland (LH/BOS), Rhys Hoskins (RH/PHI), Edwin Encarnacion (RH/SEA)
Moreland has really stunk it up over the last few days as the rest of the offense is giving you at least some fantasy points. But the LvR matchup against old-man Zimmermann is ideal, at least on a slate like today’s. How about 34-second home-run trotter Hoskins? I’d run him out in a Phillies’ stack, but otherwise, I’m respecting Caleb and looking elsewhere. Ency against the rookie lefty Hearn could work. As for Hearn, he’s a 24-year-old 6’5’’ left-handed arm who was acquired in the Keona Kela trade last year. He’s still raw but throws heat up to 96 mph. He could get hit hard but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him throw a few good innings running on adrenalin in his debut. Studly Luke Voit is the other guy I’d consider among the 1B’s, but on a five-game slate, it’d be whack of me to list them all.
CASH – DJ LeMahieu (RH/NYY), Michael Chavis (RH/BOS)
GPP – Jason Kipnis( LH/CLE)
LeMahieu continues to get it done atop the Yankees lineup proving he can hit outside of Coors. I’d trust him as a one-off despite the fact that he offers very little pop. Chavis dropped 19 DKP last night without even getting a hit (1 RBI, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 SB). Very much like the kid today. Kipnis is the contrarian longshot but my pick to shock the world and take Cole deep.
CASH – Ryon Healy (RH/SEA), Rafael Devers (LH/BOS), Jose Ramirez (SW/CLE)
GPP –Alex Bregman (RH/HOU), Jeimer Candelario (SW/DET)
Bregman is heating up and in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, but listed as a tourney play because Bauer is the best pitcher in the game right now. Healy and Devers listed as cash plays because – duh, look at this slate. Devers still hasn’t launched a homer and is quite the disappointment early on, but no doubt that he’ll warm up soon enough. I’d include him in my Red Sox’ stack. Candelario I tweeted about a couple days ago that he’s going to heat up soon. He’s a very streaky dude. Well, he had three hits on Monday, then scored a couple runs yesterday as the leadoff man. Probably won’t lead off against the right-hander but he’s so cheap on both sites and could pay off. Yes, Jo-Ram is getting his isht together finally and pulling himself out of the doldrums (35 DKP on 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB yesterday) but G.Cole is a tough matchup for him. Ramirez has faced him thrice and in one of those at-bats, popped a dinger off him.
Xander Bogaerts (RH/BOS), Tim Beckham (RH/SEA), Gleyber Torres (RH/NYY)
Bogaerts is the de facto pick here based on matchup, skill and price. Beckham against a rookie lefty will probably the second-most popular and Gleyber works because Cahill has been somewhat home-run happy (8 HR in 26 IP – 2.73 HR/9) and he crushed sinkers in his rookie season which happens to be Cahill’s most common and most giving offering. I’m hesitant to use Francisco Lindor because I don’t want much offensive exposure to CLE-HOU other than one-offs, so will be leaning to the other three here. If only one lineup, I’d play Torres.
RED SOX OF STACK –Mookie Betts (RH), JD Martinez (RH), Andrew Benintendi (LH)
M’s DUO (CASH/GPP) – Domingo Santana (RH/SEA), Mitch Haniger (RH/SEA)
CHALK CITY – Mike Trout (RH/LAA)
CONTRARIAN ONE-OFFS – Joey Gallo (LH/TEX) or Shin Soo Choo (LH/TEX), Josh Reddick (LH/HOU), Curtis Granderson (LH/MIA), Leonys Martin (LH/CLE)
You’ll likely see many lineups just stacked with the Red Sox trio and it’s hard to go wrong with that. Unless, of course, J-Zimm shocks us with some stack busting, which he’s certainly capable of. You can rock the Mariners’ duo who will likely be at the top of the lineup. If they don’t get to the rookie Hearn, they’ll very likely hit that ugly bullpen up. Haniger is damn pricey but there’s a good reason for that. He hits atop this offensive powerhouse lineup, is second to Cody Bellinger in runs scored in all of baseball and boasts a .326 ISO.
Somewhat unique one-offs may include Gallo or Choo against a fellow lefty (Marco Gonzales). Gallo is 4-for-10 with 2 HR against Gonzales lifetime. Choo is way off most folks’ logic since he’s always struggled against LHP, especially these past two years. Reddick has been pure fire, with 23, 12, 11, 24 DKP in his last four and is very reasonably priced. Leonys and Grandy are way off the beaten path. If there were 10 games today, these two would be less than one percent owned, but instead will likely see mid single-digits in ownership today. Granderson is #toast but doesn’t mean he can’t hit a few more homers this year (spoiler: he will). Why not against a broken Nola? If the game where in Miami, I’d be more hesitant, but in Citizens Bank Park, he’s actually in play today.